Charles Oliveira still sees himself as champ, hopes for next title fight in Brazil
UFC 274 was not the storybook title defense Charles Oliveira was hoping for. Leading up to the event things took a turn for the worse when he was unable to meet the lightweight limit on weigh-in day and therefore was stripped of the UFC lightweight belt. Oliveira still went into his fight with Justin Gaethje with guns blazing and was able to score the submission for the win. Missing weight took him out of the running for the belt but in his mind, he is still the champion. Oliveira released a statement after missing weight, a sentiment that he continued after the victory.
“The champion has a name and his name is Charles Oliveira. Let’s go with all we got, Brazil. God is god and he’s never abandoned me and he won’t do it now. I’m the chosen one,” he wrote on Instagram (translated from Portuguese).
Many fans and fighters agree with the fact that following the win Oliveira is still the best fighter at 155 pounds. UFC president Dana White gave his thoughts on the subject as well at the post-fight press conference.
“Listen, he’s the guy,” White said. “He’s the guy. He didn’t make weight. We have rules. He didn’t make the weight, the belt is vacant. But I’m sure in the minds of the media and fight fans, Oliveira’s the champion. But technically, he’s the #1 contender now.”
According to White, Oliveira is the number one contender. According to Oliveira, he is the champion, either way, it seems he will fight for the vacate belt next time around. However, there has been a bit of a Twitter war going on to see who will be chosen as the next contender. Oliveira spoke about when and where he would like to fight next, and it is a while from now.
“We basically gonna do what we’ve done in recent past,” Oliveira said during his UFC 274 post-fight press conference. “We wanna fight in December, wanna rest a little bit, continue with that same timing. I think that’s the best. And by the way, it’s going to be in Brazil.”
With such a long layoff, the UFC could easily move forward with another combination of fighters for the title shot. Among the names vying for a shot are Michael Chandler, who was also victorious at UFC 274, Conor McGregor, and Islam Makhachev. With the belt vacant the UFC can proceed however they wish, with Oliveira in the title shot or not. As for fighting in Brazil, the UFC has not held an event in the country since March of 2020. That event was headlined by Oliveira when he defeated Kevin Lee. That event was held with no fans present.